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A0030 Jim PPW Wilson shop and Working with Zinc or galvanized

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A0030 Jim PPW Wilson shop and Working with Zinc or galvanized
by Glenn Conner

I was fortunate enough to have known Jim personally and visited his shop both before and after he moved and built the new shop. He cautioned me about working with zinc and the problems it can cause, so he knew what he was dealing with.

Since Jim died, there has been several different versions of the story with different warnings about working with galvanized or zinc coatings on metal that was heated in the forge.

This article will show you his new shop. You can see for your self how it was set up and no longer have to imagine based on what someone has written in words.

You turn onto a little gravel road and behind the trees you see Jim's place on the right.

Now that is the shop on the right.

The house is on the left.

With the nearest neighbor a phone call away.


From the house side. The dark van and the utility building were normally not there.

The house side of the blacksmith shop. The access road circles in back of the shop. Notice that one side is closed off and the other has the hole for the door, but the door was never installed.

The other side of the blacksmith shop was FULLY OPEN, no doors or anything else to restrict the flow of air.

As you enter the shop, from the left or the house side, you notice Jim's old blacksmith shop is now INSIDE the new blacksmith shop.

This was the out building where he kept the overflow from his shop. It also is now inside his new blacksmith shop.

Please note the coal forge and tire (power) hammer in the center of the photo. The white tank and anvil are located beside the power hammer.

The gas forge and set up.

I poked around Jim's shop till I found the pipe he had in the forge. The pipe he was heating up to burn off the galvanized coating.

The forge was a mess. White powder everywhere.

Even around the opening on the side.

This shows only about one third of the shop !!

Remember this is a LARGE INTERIOR area with both ends open and no restriction of air flow. I would think you could easily park two full 18 wheel tractor and trailer rigs inside the shop and still have room to move around.

Again take note of the location of the tire power hammer, and gas forge (white tank) located where the two buildings are put together, and the two open doors at the end of the shop. Take note of the man door just to the left of the forge.

The zinc fumes did not kill Jim. They opened the door for pneumonia and other problems. -------------------------------------------------------

I will need to look up the URLs for the posts in the forum and add them to this page. They mention that Jim had COPD and was using an Oxygen bottle to assist him breathing.

Jim's own words and post

Posted 04 May 2005 - 02:52 PM Ain't no fun at ALL!

It was almost funny last night. Sheri was talking to our daughter (LPN) and her comment was, "I'm on my way!" Like many medical personnell, she doesn't trust anyones diagnosis but her own.

After determing that all my vitals (except temperature {102} and blood pressure {109/59}) were within normal limits and that there was no pneumonia she and her mother made me go to bed. While I was laying there, I suddenly remembered burning off some galvanized pipe, and called out to Avis, "Avis, go on line and check out the symptomology for metal fume fever!"

Shortly she came storming into the bedroom, saying, "You nailed it daddy, what the XXXX have you been doing?!?"

The conversation deteriorated a good bit after that.

She's not afraid to chew daddy out. (wry grin)

She said (among many other things) that what made it worse was that I KNEW better!

I feel a bit better today than I did last night. Should be over it by tomorrow.

But many thanks to all for careing.


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Thanks for clarifying what you know about what had happened to Paw Paw. When I first found out about blacksmithing I ran across many of PPW's articles, etc. Then I read that he had died. Then I read several different versions of what had happened over the last couple years. From what I have read by him and about him he must have been much loved by those who knew him.

Safety remains safety, especially when our ability to handle injury to our systems is compromised. Your input makes for an excellent warning drawn from real life. It really does strike home.

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